Bruce’s Blog #2: Washout?
As I publish this post, the sun is streaming through the window. With any luck, this signals the end of the wet weather we’ve endured so far this summer. But rays of sunshine have been fairly sparse in the live event circuit in 2012 – with cancellations ranging from major sporting events such as the Badminton Horse Trials, to a string of festivals such as The Big Chill, MFest and Hit Factory Live in Hyde Park.
Some have been hit by the prolonged bout of wet weather, but many have been cancelled due to lack of ticket sales and consumer apathy; many will not resurface. A few that have taken place such as the Sainsbury Jubilee event received significant adverse publicity as ill conceived, poorly executed and a bit of a rip off. This resulted in the organisers eating humble pie and offering refunds.
Have consumers fallen out of love with outdoor events and festivals? Are brands now ignoring them as a way of reaching their consumers? The answer is clearly no, but both groups are tired of ill-thought-through events that lack any uniqueness or are poorly targeted. In the current economic climate, consumers are acutely sensitive to any event that just appears to be a money making exercise, with little if any real engagement.
Brands need to look at the live circuit as they would any other media they are considering. They need detailed information on positioning demographics and targeting to ensure that the consumers they reach are in a positive mindset, are receptive to the brand message and that the cost delivers an effective return on investment.
Once marketers have decided to attend an event it is critical that they use agencies that have real expertise in the area to develop and deliver activity that is relevant, engaging and exciting to the consumers they are targeting. It is not just about “giving out free stuff”, but creating an immediate emotional connection that generates word of mouth, that can be enhanced through social media, and that creates behavioural shift and brand loyalty.